Selling homes is a complicated business. You do not simply put a sign in the yard and list a home on MLS. Good Realtors have a team at their fingertips today, and they provide so many services it will make your head spin. Right now, a lot of Realtors are essentially remodeling consultants.
Buyers today, more than ever and in any market, demand a move-in ready home. That means Realtors do a lot more than show houses. They make sure those houses are show-ready. That, more often than not, means getting a team together to update and often gut and remodel entire rooms. Buyers won’t even look at a dated kitchen or bathroom. Don’t get me wrong, the luxury market is much healthier in Dallas than in the rest of the country, but luxury homes are getting a lot of help.
According to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M’s Quarterly Housing Report, during the first quarter of 2018, Dallas had a little over eight months of inventory for homes priced over $1 million, with a median price of $ 1.449 million. That’s down from 10.5 months in October of 2017. Now, it’s typical for luxury homes to spend more time on the market than lower-priced homes, but Dallas is doing something right because our days on the market have been reduced by approximately 75 days in the past year.
According to the Texas Association of Realtor’s Texas Luxury Home Sales Report, last year Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington had the highest luxury home sales volume in the state. And good news, our median luxury home price is the second lowest in the state! We’re not talking new construction here, either, as the median build year is 2004. That means our luxury market is moving along pretty nicely if your luxury home is move-in ready. If not, forget it, it’s going to sit that full eight months and probably longer, with multiple price reductions. But if you want it to move and you are willing to listen to your Realtor, our Inwood Home of the Week at 6806 Glendora Avenue is a perfect example of what to do to get a luxury home ready to sell. This lovely two-story house is 5,387 square feet with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, two powder baths, five living areas, a study, a home theater, and a real rarity — a fenced yard — perfect for children. But the house wasn’t getting traction with buyers.
Enter Allie Beth Allman agent Maribeth Messineo Peters.
“I’m a little bit of a unique Realtor because I remodeled homes before I became a Realtor,” Peters said. “I understand the process. I can help the seller visualize it, and I have good trades, so we get enhanced return on investment. You want a house to sell faster, and for more money, that is why we do all of this. I am very transparent to let sellers know what buyers expect.”
“This house is in a sterling location in Preston Hollow,” Peters added3. “However, it was not current and did not show or photograph well. It needed to be updated. I knew there was a lot of work to be done. The seller was exceptionally gracious and accepted all of my suggestions.”
The first thing on the list to transform this home was removing dated troweled finish on the walls and ceiling. Scaffolding was brought in to reach the tall entry ceilings. “I knew we could instantly update the living room by removing the cast stone surround above the fireplace,” Peters said. “Walls and woodwork were painted a crisp white. Carpet and padding were replaced throughout the house. It took 18 years off the home!”
Kitchens sell houses. It’s the one area you where you can’t cut corners. Buyers are not forgiving when it comes to an outdated kitchen and the number one complaint is about stained cabinets.
“Stained wood has no place in a home right now,” Peters said. “Painting kitchen cabinets creates an instant transformation.” Peters had the travertine backsplash replaced with white subway tile, cut the counters down from breakfast bar height to counter height, removed an awkward island, added a new under-mount sink, a Grohe faucet, and replaced the range top with a GE Monogram range top. The final touch was adding classic white marble counters from IMC.
The kitchen looks like what you’d find in a 2018 new-build, and that’s the point. Buyers expect light, white, bright, and move-in ready.
One of Peters’ instant pick-me-ups for a house is to remove ceiling fans, and I have to say it’s something we stagers suggest constantly. Rooms instantly feel larger and why have an ugly fan when you can use a beautiful light fixture? Peters removed light fixtures that overwhelmed spaces and replaced others. She also painted some of the existing fixtures white for a quick transformation. Peters has another quick and easy tip. “One of the simple things that can transform a house is to change the lightbulbs to daylight and make sure all the bulbs are the same style, wattage, and color.”
The master bath was updated with paint, new Walker-Zanger marble countertops, and the dated wallpaper was banished.
Peters is also a big proponent of staging. “There is no price tag to put on staging,” she said. “It’s priceless. Staging will completely transform a room and explain how furniture is laid out to a buyer. Any home that is vacant must be staged. The buyer expectation of the level of accessories and art has gone up. Good artwork is paramount. I bring in some of my artwork, so it’s not cost prohibitive for the seller. I work in tandem with the stager on accessories. A talented stager knows how to stretch the budget. Of course, photography is best utilized on a staged home, and you have to spend money on photography. The photos have to be perfect. We live in an Instagram world, where everything is perfect. Buyers want that world.”
This Preston Hollow luxury home’s transformation is complete, and it’s listed for a great price of $1.24 million. That’s an incredible value for a home of this size, in one of our most desirable neighborhoods, that is in move-in ready condition. Check it out this Sunday!
Open House: Sunday, July 8, 1 to 3 p.m.
Karen Eubank is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager for more than 25 years and a professional writer for 20 years. Karen is the mother of a son who’s studying music at The University of Miami. An ardent animal lover, she doesn’t mind one bit if your fur baby jumps right into her lap. Find Karen at www.eubankstaging.com